Repeat after me, “I am not a P. I am better than average. I will not accept the minimum. I am not a P.” As Type A’s I’m sure this is a morning mantra we all repeat to ourselves in front of the mirror before we start our days in residency and perhaps say to ourselves before we hit the submit button on the platform. For most of us however, at some point we will receive the dreaded “P” and for the real over achievers the dreaded “HP”.
I know for me I go through several stages when I don’t perform at the level I have set for myself. First is the feeling like I am going to puke because I am so disappointed in myself. Then there is the stage where I bang my forehead on the desk in cries of agony, “Why? Why Professor Anton? Why me? Why my paper? Whhhhyyyyyyyyyy?????” Okay, perhaps not that dramatic, but you get the point. Then I move on to the justification. “Well apparently he didn’t read my brilliant and excellent analysis of X. If he truly understood X he would have seen I am the best Y since the dawning of time. It’s not my fault my brilliance has eclipsed even the sun’s rays. I will wait for the day the reptilian aliens are defeated and the good aliens take over and show that I am an enlightened one.” Yes, for that brief egotistical moment I sore on my own flights of grandeur, until the reality that I just received the grade from one of Duke’s number one ranked faculty sets in. SPLAT! I am now back on solid ground, where I am left with my humility and a less than optimal grade. Okay, okay, I suck, I f*ed up, I earned a bad grade. Now how do I fix it?
I want to post today about a surprising gem I’ve found in this program: group work. I’ll come right out and admit that I don’t have the best history with groups in that I often feel like I can do a better job solo than when I’m working with a group. I don’t always have the best patience with the different personalities and compromises necessary when working in groups, so I’d say that in this specific area, I’m a tad weak. I realize this about myself, but at the same time I haven’t had experiences that would lead me to believe that group work inherently leads to better results…until now.
I feel like there are many concepts and topics that we have a chance to learn in this program, but I also believe that many can be learned from our own research or picking up a few good books. In the case of working with others, this program illustrates its strength. In my personal experience thus far, I can say that I’ve learned more about myself and how to work with others more effectively. I’ve learned other concepts as well in Microeconomics and Managerial Effectiveness, but it’s the “working with others” part as well as my own self-discovery that I think will be the most useful in my career.
Each person and group can only really speak to their own experiences, but I thought I’d take a little time and write about my time with my group to this point in the program. To begin with, the program asks that we take personality tests during the pre-work before Term 1. The admins use this to place us in our teams. Based on our group’s personality scores as a whole, I feel like we are purposely put with people that we may work well with but also people that we will struggle to work with. I suppose it’s the idea that through adversity we grow as professionals in experience and character…and I have to agree that there’s going to be experience AND adversity when you first start out with the group work!